NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
3D Printing in Zero-G ISS Technology DemonstrationThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a long term strategy to fabricate components and equipment on-demand for manned missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. To support this strategy, NASA and Made in Space, Inc. are developing the 3D Printing In Zero-G payload as a Technology Demonstration for the International Space Station. The 3D Printing In Zero-G experiment will be the first machine to perform 3D printing in space. The greater the distance from Earth and the longer the mission duration, the more difficult resupply becomes; this requires a change from the current spares, maintenance, repair, and hardware design model that has been used on the International Space Station up until now. Given the extension of the ISS Program, which will inevitably result in replacement parts being required, the ISS is an ideal platform to begin changing the current model for resupply and repair to one that is more suitable for all exploration missions. 3D Printing, more formally known as Additive Manufacturing, is the method of building parts/ objects/tools layer-by-layer. The 3D Print experiment will use extrusion-based additive manufacturing, which involves building an object out of plastic deposited by a wire-feed via an extruder head. Parts can be printed from data files loaded on the device at launch, as well as additional files uplinked to the device while on-orbit. The plastic extrusion additive manufacturing process is a low-energy, low-mass solution to many common needs on board the ISS. The 3D Print payload will serve as the ideal first step to proving that process in space. It is unreasonable to expect NASA to launch large blocks of material from which parts or tools can be traditionally machined, and even more unreasonable to fly up specialized manufacturing hardware to perform the entire range of function traditionally machining requires. The technology to produce parts on demand, in space, offers unique design options that are not possible through traditional manufacturing methods while offering cost-effective, high-precision, low-unit on-demand manufacturing. Thus, Additive Manufacturing capabilities are the foundation of an advanced manufacturing in space roadmap.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Johnston, Mallory M.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Werkheiser, Mary J.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Cooper, Kenneth G.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Snyder, Michael P.
(Made In Space, Inc. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Edmunson, Jennifer E.
(Jacobs Technology, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
October 8, 2014
Publication Date
August 4, 2014
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Ground Support Systems And Facilities (Space)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Space 2014
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: August 4, 2014
End Date: August 7, 2014
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available